‘The Holdovers’ David Hemingson Reveals Details Of New Alexander Payne Western Project & Hopes Paul Giamatti Will Join: “We’ve Written Him A Part” | Deadline

‘The Holdovers’ David Hemingson Reveals Details Of New Alexander Payne Western Project & Hopes Paul Giamatti Will Join: “We’ve Written Him A Part”© Provided by Deadline

The Holdovers collaborators, director Alexander Payne and screenwriter David Hemingson, are working on another film together-a Western, in fact-and during a Q&A following a screening of The Holdovers at Soho House in West Hollywood on Friday, Hemingson revealed there’s a part earmarked for Paul Giamatti.

“I’ve been sworn to secrecy,” Hemingson said, “but what I will say is we’ve written him a part and I hope he’ll do it.”

If Giamatti, who stars in The Holdovers, accepts, it would be his third collaboration with Payne since Sideways in 2004.

Hemingson went on to reveal some details of the new project: “Alexander and I are writing a Western together, so we’re going to co-write something, and it’s set in Nebraska in 1886, and it’s like no Western you have ever seen before, because it’s an Alexander Payne Western. So, all those interpersonal dynamics, all the stuff that he does, so brilliantly. He’s such a brilliant humanist. He’s going to suffuse this thing. It’ll be recognizable as within the genre, and it’ll have certain other tropes. But we intend to turn them on their head and really talk about the humanist perspective of 1886 Nebraska, which I’m thrilled about.”

Hemingson is Oscar-nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for The Holdovers, which evolved from a TV pilot he had initially penned. Payne-who served as both a screenwriter and director on the majority of his films, such as Sideways, The Descendants and Election-got hold of Hemingson’s TV pilot, called him up and encouraged him to turn it into feature, while Hemingson, for his part, had been writing and producing television hits for years, including shows like How I Met Your Mother, Just Shoot Me, Black-ish, Bones and Lie to MeThe Holdovers is his first feature.

The Holdovers has five Oscar nominations in total: Best Picture, Best Actor for Paul Giamatti, Best Supporting Actress for Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Hemingson’s Original Screenplay and editing for Payne’s longtime collaborator Kevin Tent.

The film follows disgruntled prep school Classics professor Paul Hunham (Giamatti), who finds himself left in charge of a rebellious pupil (Dominic Sessa) over the holidays, together with Mary (Randolph), the recently-bereaved school cook.

During the Q&A, Hemingson recalled some key pieces of dialogue in The Holdovers that came verbatim from his uncle, a man who supported and helped Hemingson and his mother after her divorce. “Uncle Earl showed up in my life, and he was this tough, hard-bit, World War II veteran who fought on Saipan and just didn’t take any s**t from anybody. And he would say things like, ‘For most folks, life is like a henhouse ladder, s****y and short,’ or ‘Mostly sex is 99% friction, 1% goodwill.'”

Hemingson also revealed that one of the characters in the film, Jason Smith, a pupil whose father whisks him and his friends off in a helicopter, is so strongly based on a real classmate of his, that he didn’t even change his name.

“He was a classmate of mine, a couple grades above me. I describe him in the script as this heavy-lidded viking warrior-slash-zen monk because the real Jason Smith was, like, 6’3″ and gorgeous . He would leave his Oxford cloth button-down shirt open to the navel, because it was the ’70s. He always had a cast on his arm because he was the captain of the soccer team. He would break his arm in the second game, but would still ride the bench and look awesome, just kind of perpetually stoned. Imagine if the Big Lebowski was combined with Liam Hemsworth and you kind of get the original Jason Smith.”

When asked if the real Jason Smith had been in touch following the film, Hemingson said, “I haven’t seen Jason Smith in 40 years. He’s too cool to call me. Jason Smith doesn’t need this movie. Jason Smith is Jason Smith.”

The Holdovers is currently streaming on Peacock, Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.

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